People keep asking what the Green New Deal will cost, but that is the wrong question. The question is how much do they want? It turns out the New Dealers are pretty clear about the answer — around $100 trillion over ten years. They are working to a very big budget. What gets done depends on the money, not vice versa.
Representative Ocasio-Cortez (who has a degree in economics) and her crew have a clear idea of where the money for the Green New Deal is going to come from and roughly how much they want. As with WW2, the Green New Deal will simply consume about half of American GDP. I am not making this up. That WW2 was a time of great sacrifice and hardship, as a direct result of this dramatic mobilization, does not matter to these folks. War is war, right?
Here it is in its clearest form: “The resolution describes the 10-year plan to transform every sector of our economy to remove GHH and pollution. It says it does this through huge investment in renewables at WW2 scale (which was 40-60% GDP investments).”
This recent quote is from Representative Ocasio-Cortez’s chief of staff — Saikat Chakrabarti.
If you start with a budget of 40-60% of US GDP you can think really big, and the Green New Dealers have done just that. GDP is running around $20 trillion a year, or $200 trillion in ten years. Taking 40-60% of that is $80-120 trillion, so let’s call it an even $100 trillion to finance the Green New Deal dream.
The ways and means of raising this stupendous sum of $100 trillion are also clear in their minds. It will be done the same way WW2 was done, however that was. It is obvious to them that we can do this, because we have done it before. The specifics do not matter to the Plan. The Government can work them out.
If you read what the Green New Dealers say, they make this argument. The confusion arises because people think the Green New Deal is an ordinary policy proposal, taking the form “Here is what we want done and here is what it should cost.” It is nothing like that. The form of the Green New Deal is “Here is the level of effort we need and here is what we should be able to do with that much money.”
People tend to interpret the New Dealer’s talk of a WW2-like mobilization as a metaphor, but they mean it as an actual measure of what they are looking for.
So far they have ignored the extreme hardships of mobilization. Here is a sample from “United States home front during World War II“:
“Gasoline, meat, and clothing were tightly rationed. Most families were allocated 3 US gallons of gasoline a week, which sharply curtailed driving for any purpose. Production of most durable goods, like cars, new housing, vacuum cleaners, and kitchen appliances, was banned until the war ended. In industrial areas housing was in short supply as people doubled up and lived in cramped quarters. Prices and wages were controlled.”
No doubt the Green New Deal mobilization would impose different hardships, but all mobilizations are oppressive. You can’t burn half of the GDP without severe disruption to people’s lives.
The argument is sound in its way, provided the need for all-out war is there, which it is not. Fortunately, most Americans do not see any need for such a painful war, making this wacky scheme completely unrealistic. Polls indicate that roughly half of Americans do not even believe in the idea of human caused global warming, much less that it is an “existential threat” as Representative Ocasio-Cortez claims it is. The fraction that thinks we need to go onto a prolonged and desperate war footing must therefore be quite small.
Given these stupendous dollars and the great personal sacrifices they will require from all Americans, one wonders if the supporters of the Green New Deal know what they are asking for. This includes the numerous co-sponsors of the House and Senate Green New Deal Resolution.
We should ask each Green New Deal supporter in the House and Senate if they think America needs to cough up $100 trillion dollars over the next ten years. I doubt they do, but in any case it is going to work against them in the coming elections.
The American people are not about to be mobilized into an all-out war against dubious climate change.